The warmth and beauty that natural stone surfaces bring to your home is undeniable. Granite, marble, travertine, and limestone are all top of the line materials used in kitchens, baths, floors, and even some furniture.To protect your stone from staining, etching, blurring, and general wear and tear it is vital that your stone be sealed and the stone sealer be properly maintained.

Caring for natural stone

All natural stones are porous and will absorb liquids to some degree. Cooking oils, nail polish, ketchup and mustard, can all penetrate your stone, leaving behind an ugly stain. Substances like citrus, wine, and vinegar are particularly detrimental to calciferous stones (like limestone, marble, and travertine), which chemically react with these acids, becoming permanently etched.

Properly sealing your natural stone with the correct type of stone sealer will greatly reduce your stone’s exposure to common issues and assist in keeping your kitchens, baths, and flooring looking beautiful.

Impregnating and Penetrating Stone Sealers:

Impregnators, also known as penetrating sealers, are typically recommended for granite and other natural stone surfaces. Impregnators permeate the stone, preventing it from absorbing liquids while allowing moisture to evaporate out.

Impregnator sealants can be water or solvent based.  Both solutions work essentially the same way--filling the stone’s pores so it will not absorb harmful substances--but water based solvents tend to have significantly fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are therefore considered more environmentally friendly. Solvent based sealers, on the other hand, penetrate deeper into the stone providing a more thorough seal.

These sealers are typically hydrophobic--meaning they protect your granite or natural stone surface from absorbing water based solutions.  However, there are some impregnators that are oliophobic; repelling both oil and water based solutions. It is a particularly good idea to use oliophobic stone sealers in the kitchen where cooking oils and fats are prevalent.

Topical Sealers:

Another type of stone sealer is a topical sealer. These are typically used in commercial settings, for example on natural stone floors in public buildings. Because of the soft nature of these sealers, they tend to scuff and mark easily and need to be stripped and re-applied regularly. Though topical sealers are less expensive in the short term, they are not resilient stone sealers and require more maintenance in the long run. In most instances homeowners will enjoy better results using an impregnating stone sealer.

Cleaning and Resealing Natural Stone Surfaces

When cleaning your natural stone surfaces always use a pH balanced stone cleaner such as Supreme Surface Granite Cleaner & Conditioner. This product is 100% natural and safe for use on your tile and stone. Cleaning with harsh or abrasive cleaners like bleach or ammonia can damage your stone sealer. Even homemade cleaners that contain vinegar, lemon, or orange can wear away your stone sealer and expose your stone surfaces to damaging agents.

How to tell if your seal has been damaged

If your stone is properly sealed, water should bead on it as it would a freshly waxed car. If you leave a few drops of water on your stone surface and it gradually gets absorbed, its time to reseal your natural stone. You can do this yourself, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions; or, you can hire a stone care professional to seal your stone for you.

Once your stone has been sealed, always use a ph-neutral cleaner to prevent the sealer from being progressively broken down and removed. Cleaning daily with the Supreme Surface line of stone cleaners will help maintain and refresh your seal. These products contain a proprietary conditioner called ioSeal that ionically bonds with your stone, creating a protective barrier against common issues such as stains, hard water spots, and mineral deposits.

To clean, seal, polish and protect your natural stone in one easy step, use Supreme Surface® stone care products with ioSeal™every time.